Okay to Take a Mommy Time-Out?

Kids having a quarrel and fight

Absolutely yes!

When most parents think about time-out, it’s sending the child to their room or having the child sit out of play for a few minutes.  When I discuss time-out in the last hour of our positive discipline series, I often get the a question about the use of a mommy time-out.  The parent says something along the lines of “This isn’t really a time-out for my child, but there are times when I just need a break.  Is it okay to be alone myself for a few minutes or to go into my bedroom and close the door for a few minutes?”

As long as your child is in a safe place, I think completely fine to take a few minutes break for yourself.  If this is a very young child, just putting them in the crib with a few safe toys and walking to another room is better than continuing to hold child when you are feeling on the edge.  If you are about to lose your cool with an older child, I think fine to separate yourself, close a door and just breath for a few minutes before you interact again.

It can be helpful to note, as children get older, discipline doesn’t have to be immediate.  Of course, it should be as soon as possible and under 4 years old immediate but as the child is 4 or 5 years old, the discipline can be a bit later.  You have time to collect your thoughts before moving forward.

In the big picture, I think healthy to occasionally plan for time away from your family.  In my own house, maybe once a month my husband or I plan a night out with friends solo.  Ideally parents find alone time at least once a week.  This can be small like a shower with the door locked or a jog around the neighborhood.  Sad that the shower counts but it does.

If both parents are home and one is loosing their cool, it is also fine to tap-out. Fine to hand off your child/ren to your partner. In our house it’s been unspoken, a parent that is handing off is absolutely allowed to do so. For the receiving parent, it’s time to step-up!

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